Is Beijing planning to create a Chinese Military Base in Pakistan? The United States suspects that Beijing will develop a Chinese Military Base not only in Pakistan but across the world to protect its investments in its ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) infrastructure program.
Chinese Military Base in Pakistan
Beijing presently has just one overseas military base in Djibouti but is understood ambitions to develop more, including in Pakistan, as it attempts to project itself as a global superpower.
“China’s advancement of projects such as the ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative (OBOR) will probably drive military overseas basing through a perceived need to provide security for OBOR projects,” the Pentagon said in its annual report to Congress on Chinese military and security developments.
“China will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries,” the report said.
That effort could be constrained by other countries’ wariness of hosting a full-time presence of the People’s Liberation Army, the report noted.
But target locations for military basing could include the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the western Pacific. China has already established well-armed outposts on contested atolls it build up in the South China Sea.
Last year, there were reportedly discussions on a base in the Wakhan corridor of northwest Afghanistan.
In addition, The Washington Post recently identified an outpost hosting many Chinese troops in eastern Tajikistan, near the strategic junction of the Wakhan Corridor, China, and Pakistan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to project the country’s power beyond its immediate “back yard” in East and Southeast Asia. This includes strengthening the country’s presence in international institutions, acquiring top-flight technology and establishing a strong economic presence worldwide.
It also includes projecting the country’s military force on the land, sea and in space, the report notes. “China’s leaders are leveraging China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military clout to establish regional preeminence and expand the country’s international influence,” the report said.
Beijing in particular increasingly sees the United States as becoming more confrontational in an effort to contain China’s expanding power, it said.
Beijing, meanwhile, has taken note of a growing suspicion in many countries of the One Belt One Road program and has toned down its aggressive rhetoric in response. Nevertheless, the Pentagon said Beijing’s leadership has not altered its fundamental strategic goals.